Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s July 15, the day after Bastille Day, and I awoke to learn that the death toll in Nice, which is being called a terrorist attack (we know little right now) has risen to 84. It’s immensely sad, and I have no idea how to stop it. I’m sure France will go on, and will put on a brave face, but enough is enough. But of course it’s not enough: this will continue.

It’s Elderly Men Day in Kiribati (Christmas Island), where Stephen Barnard goes to fish.  On this day in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was discovered in Egypt, and, in 1839, an event occurred described on Wikipedia like this: “Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, discounting Biblical miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God. The Protestant community reacts with outrage.” I did not know that. On July 15, 1918, the Battle of the Marne began, and exactly ten years ago today, Twi**er was launched. I am not sure that was a good thing.

Notables born on this day include Carl Woese (1928), Jocelyn Bell (1943), Linda Rondstadt (1946; she turns 70 today), and Diane Kruger (1976). Those who died on this day include Julia Lennon, John Lennon’s mother and subject of his song “Julia” (1958). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is dong his job as part of Hili’s staff:

Hili: Those crows make me nervous.
A: Relax. They are afraid of black dogs.
Hili: Oh, that’s nice.
In Polish:
Hili: Te wrony budzą mój niepokój.
Cyrus; Spokojnie, one się boją czarnych psów.
Hili: O, to miło.
Here’s a lovely kitten warming itself on a computer cord (what are those white boxes, anyway?):
And here’s Gus in Winnipeg, enjoying the evening air. Can you spot the white cat?


  1. Frank Bath
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    The little white box is a voltage transformer and AC/DC rectifier. It gives out heat in the process.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 15, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      30 years ago it would have been. It would also have been a lot hotter and bulkier.
      for a long time, they’ve been “switched mode power supplies,” which are more efficient than the transformer/ rectifier/ smoothing RC low-pass filter combination. Particularly if you need to output several voltages.
      Compared to a transformer/ rectifier/ smoother, there really are “no user serviceable components inside” – been there, tried that, had to scavange a power supply from a different piece of equipment to get the DAQ module back working until a spare part arrived.

  2. Draken
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    The white box is a Power Switch Unit aka transformer (e.g. 240V AC ->16V DC). If it’s really efficient it doesn’t get all that warm.

    • George
      Posted July 15, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      In the US and Canada, we start with 120 V AC. And most of those units are cheap and not very efficient.

  3. Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    My heart goes out to the people of France… words fail me at this time.

    Gus is one lucky cat, to have such a gorgeous home.

  4. Dominic
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    PCC[E] tweeted earlier the e-bay sale of illegal sea turtle boots –
    & that the The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & e-bay are not stopping the sale…

    • Posted July 15, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      For months and months I’ve reported the illegal sale of sea turtle items on eBay, and they dutifully ignore my reports. I called them, was on hold for an hour, and finally talked to someone else, who didn’t care. I called up the US Fish & Wildlife Service, both in Chicago and Springfield Illinois, reporting this sale (there are literally dozens of these sea turtle boots for sale at any time). They said they’d get back to me, and of course they didn’t (that was months ago). I got frustrated and went to Twitter, whereupon the USFWS told me “We rely heavily on reports. Did you report it?”. YES, I reported it.

      We shall see; I’ve now contacted my Senator, and that will guarantee that something gets done.

      • Richard Bond
        Posted July 15, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        At Watamu in Kenya, fishermen who accidentally catch sea turtles are paid if they bring them alive to a local rescue service. There they are examined, cared for if necessary, and returned to the sea when healthy. These releases are well publicised, very popular with tourists, and thus provide useful education about the necessity of conservation.

      • Posted July 15, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink


  5. Steven in Tokyo
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    It looks as if the white cat is spotting me.
    (I would have translated the TV program on the cat shirts if I’d had enough time, but I’m in the process of getting a student through the last stages of a PhD … Sorry!)

  6. Posted July 15, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Jerry, for posting a “spot the …” which even I can find right off.

  7. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Because Julia is my favourite Beatles song and one of the loveliest pieces of music ever written I feel I have to point out that it was written in 1968, or ’67 at the earliest, not 1958. It has a few references to Yoko in it for example, and I remember reading that the fingerpicking style Lennon uses in the song was taught to him by Donovan when they met on one of the band’s hippie holidays, possibly the infamous Maharishi jaunt. There. Pedant out.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted July 15, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I believe ’58 is when she died.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 15, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Yes, I think that’s what Jerry meant when he wrote it. I probably misread it.

  8. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    In the dark, all cats are gray.

    The same goes for accommodationism. Sweden’s conservative newspaper immediately published an essay blaming the collective of victims for their secularism, and especially for having a veil ban debate. (Because Tunisia, which has supplied twice as many Daesh terrorists as other nations, has no effective veil ban. See the link below.)

    The essay was based on political science theorizing: “The French Connection, Part II: Radicalization, Laïcité, and the Islamic Veil”

    “At this point we think there is enough quantitative and qualitative evidence to take the “laïcité plus veil ban debate” theory seriously. As a result our next step will be …”

    [ ]

    I wrote back to the journalist, who did several mistakes regarding the actual statistics. (Which shows Tunisia being the most fertile Daesh source; but we already knew that.) But who especially promoted this extraordinary claim of collective victim blame based on speculation instead of vetted statistics.

    Not a good way to start the day.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    So Donald Trump said yesterday that he declared war on the terrorist. I believe George W did that in 2001. Similar to declaring war on bug bites.

  10. tubby
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    To add to the voltage transformer identification, you’ll only see them externally on small computers like laptops and notebooks. They’re internal on desktops, and usually located where the power plug goes into the box. There should also be a power switch, fans, and a voltage selector as well.

  11. Posted July 15, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    New Holiday slogan: “Put Christ back on Christmas Island.”

  12. David Duncan
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    “Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is dong his job as part of Hili’s staff…”

    Did you mean Cyrus?

  13. Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m exhausted by the repeated inundation with gun death and terrorist attacks here and abroad. Today I feel faint from it all. I suppose the ill-health it’s inducing in me is preferred to letting horror slip out of my awareness, but it’s making it difficult to concentrate on the positive. Where is the positive?

    I cannot see any way forward that doesn’t struggle to see through the aftermath of bloodshed, to struggle to hold onto what’s working in our world.

    But maybe we need to be defeated with intense sorrow before the solutions dawn, to have our humanity stricken with ghastly devastation so thoroughly that everything in us cries out a NO so convincing that it cannot go unheard. Is this the type of cultural convergence that’s needed to get the guns banned and the cognitively hellish brains of the religiously motivated freed? I don’t know. But, in the meantime, there are sunlight daisies, non-microwaved popcorn to be flavored, and friends to cherish.

  14. Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    “Here’s a lovely kitten warming itself on a computer cord (what are those white boxes, anyway?)”

    The white boxes are enhancers and the kitten is a transcription factor.

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